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How Much Coaching Do We Need
July 10, 2013
8:24 pm
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Dobbie98
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Peter, I believe challenging people’s ideas is good & sometimes by challenging the post they get a better understanding. ( but not by making them look silly, if they was to maybe ask questions about their thoughts it wouldn’t seem like an attack.) I think it would be great if other people in putted to the forum, as it seems to be the same knowledgeable posters.

Re training at a club night, we negotiate with fellow members for court time. But I guess having four courts helps, where’s some clubs may have less courts. Which would make this a harder option.

July 10, 2013
11:03 pm
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Peter Warman
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We have four courts for two hours and roughly about half an hour before the end of the night, the majority of people start to leave. I guess you could have one or two courts for match practice, you could get one or two games in that time. The only problem there is that at our club, we have three men's doubles team and two mixed teams, so there would be quite a lot of people wanting to play. And if we had, say two courts for the last half an hour for match practice pairs, will there be enough people for those staying until the end and not in a team, to get a game?

 

Dobbie, interesting about the coaching, I guess as well, for those that do the coaching at your club, might then get the that little bit extra encouragement and get more coaching outside of club time, having known what it entails. So it would, hopefully, have a knock on effect. Although many people go to clubs to play rather than practice so could be tricky to keep everyone happy Smile

 

Back to the question, how much coaching do we need, some, is better than none. But as Paul might say, it has to be the correct coaching and the correct techniques. 

Badminton Gives Me A Purpose In Life – To Serve Others
I'd Rather Be Playing Badminton…………..

July 11, 2013
12:22 am
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Paul Stewart
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I really like this particular topic and it's been fascinating reading. Remember, I read every forum post as I receive emails with the post. So I already know what's been said before I visit the forum.

 

Peter, you know I don't take offence to your comments. My word certainly isn't gospel, it's just my opinion according to my learning to date. As you say I am always learning, sometimes from beginners, sometimes from different sports and most of the time I question and tinker. I learnt this from studying martial artist Bruce Lee many years ago, taking from this style and that style, developing training tools etc.

 

Coaching sport is very similar to coaching in business. New skills are learnt, but, without constant reinforcement, the ability of the trainee falls. When regular top up sessions are included in coaching, the ability of the trainee gradually increases over time to the extent that the trainee's abilities exceed expectations. 

 

I am a firm believer in good repetition being the master skill to achieving excellence in sport. A player needs to learn and program the feeling of the shot in addition to understanding the sequence. We see this all the time in golf or tennis where there are rituals before a stroke is taken (e.g. tennis serve).

 

The question “how much coaching do we need” to me can only be measured by the desire of the individual. There are the lower intermediate players in a club with high hopes of representing the club or moving up the teams. This player may gladly absorb all the coaching they can get, whereas other members in the club who are marginally better want the coach to somehow waive and magic wand to improve their game and results, but not at the cost of playing a few games in an evening.

 

Moving on to the next level, there can be a level of competency when the personality of the player makes the difference although you could argue the answer based on their desire is the deciding factor. These type of players tend to fall into four categories…

 

1) the “I think I'm good and don't need help because I know it all”

2) “yes, there's a lot more room for improvement but have I got the time and the money or other excuses to use?”

3) I want to go in that direction and I need a coach to help me get there.

4) I'm happy with my game 

 

No doubt I could create a few other personalities, but these are the ones I've met on so many occasions.

 

Overall in our culture I feel that there is more a sense of selfishness compared to years ago. We seem to be missing the comradeship of yesteryear and the real desire on so many levels to drive oneself. I wonder if we are losing the skill of patience, commitment, goal setting that the past masters used to demonstrate week in, week out in club badminton.

 

For me, there is no simple answer to this question as it's so individual. Kids need structure and regular weekly sessions to build skill (I see this every week watching my kids at swimming lessons). As I said, good repetition is the master skill. As we get older, if the basics are in place then the weekly session isn't required but regular top up/reminders will work to maintain and slowly increase capability. For greater improvement, the investment in time on court with a coach is a must.

 

I really expected this first response to be a bit longer so apologies to those whose comments I may not have answered. It's 00.20 now and as usual buring the midnight hour oil again.

 

Paul

July 11, 2013
12:26 pm
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Matthew Seeley
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Ooooh! Lots of interesting and good points raised!

Slightly off topic of coaching, but regarding club nights:

The “good players practicing together” conundrum has been the death of nearly every club I have played at. These clubs all had one thing in common: a peg board. The peg board is a strange thing. The rules state you can choose from the previous X players. However, people often get offended at the choice taken from the X players. They feel they have been “left out”, or that players are just playing amongst themselves. If you don't want people to be able to choose, then change the system!

Anyway, enough ranting. The “practice amongst yourselves” vs “equality” argument is always a good one. Peter asked a good question: if people want to practice, shouldn't they do it on their own time. How many people have TIME to play more than one night a week? There are often matches in a week as well! If you want them to practice in their own time, you are effectively saying you don't want them to come to club nights at all. The deal is, they come to club nights, and support club nights, and don't have their own “club night” instead for practice (which is bad), and in exchange, they will get to play SOME “good” games or serious games amongst themselves. This is such a tricky balance to find.

In my view, the “lesser” players should absolutely be allowed to play with the “better” players. However, they should not expect an easy game. They might get wiped off the court. This is their chance to play at a higher level than they are used to, and get pushed, ask questions, receive instruction etc. I do not think they should expect to play all their games with “better” players. This is SO important: they have to realise, that in the same way THEY want to be pushed, the “better” players ALSO want to be pushed. As such, there has to be a balance between mixing the ability levels, and allowing players to play more serious games. I think match courts are a bad idea, but allowing “matches” is a good idea.

An example of how this might work, is that for the first half of club night, everyone mixes in together, and for the second hour, players play more serious “practice” games. This is still a tough mixture to achieve, and this does not work at purely social clubs. It is important people don't just turn up “late” to play these games.

Something to bear in mind with all this, and it is really tough to overcome, is that if a mixed ability game goes on the court, and the “lesser” players are looking to gain some experience with the “better” players, this game must not be treated as a joke by anyone. If the “better” players treat it as a joke, then this is unfair on the “lesser” players. If the “lesser” players do not try their hardest, then they are effectively ruining the evening for the “better” players, who will lose their focus, and not be able to get it back again for the rest of the evening, rendering the “good” games as useless.

 

Is anyone going to play the devils advocate? There are so many different opinions to consider on this!

My view remains unchanged: players should all play together some times, and players should stick to more even ability pairings at other times, AND everyone should be ok with this. People should be unhappy if they don't get a few tough or challenging game in the evening, and players should play seriously if they want to improve. Badminton can still be fun, but it is more fun, amongst those who want to improve, if everyone tries their hardest to win! Everyone plays better, tries harder, and enjoys the game more. Club culture is important here.

I accept that some of what I said may seem anti-social, unfriendly, arrogant, or any other negative words. Please challenge this post if you disagree with it! This is such an important issue in modern club badminton. Or maybe this is the wrong thread to discuss it…

July 11, 2013
2:35 pm
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Dobbie98
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Matthew, what’s your thoughts on the best players starting on -8 where a lesser player might start on +4 say.To make games more competitive. Maybe club nights could have competitions where who ever turns up are divided up to form two teams. Clubs could offer their members a night where coaching is available one club night a month. If the other players wants to play they could visit another club that night.

July 11, 2013
2:43 pm
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Matthew Seeley
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Hi Dobbie,

I personally hate Handicap systems in the new scoring rules. I do not think they work! Old rules thats fine, but in the new rules, its not good. I think that it COULD work, but you are forcing players to be competitive throughout the club. Most players will not want this in my opinion… You are also increasing or decreasing the natural lengths of games, which is not good (you need to get games on and off quickly in a busy club).

Personally, I think the best thing regarding coaching would be just to have a coach present at a club night every now and then. They could go on and play games if people want tips during matches, or demonstrate techniques in between games to help people out. Or run a clinic on one court for something e.g. “improve your backhand drive”, and people just come on, hit a few shots, get a few tips, practice a couple of times, then go back to their games. However, this takes a court away from the club night (but players sitting out should go and watch the clinic!).

July 12, 2013
4:53 pm
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John
Southampton
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Tremendous thread guys!

My limited experience of club nights have taught me that most (actually everyone..) wants to play games. All of the arguments presented in this thread are valid – people pay money to attend clubs and they want their money's worth – splitting the players into league and non-league creates elitism – clubs have to be financially viable etc etc.

Nonetheless, to improve your game generally you need to practice. To move from beginner to intermediate to advanced you need to practice. To aspire to the league team you need to practice. To be the best in the league you need to practice. You get the picture Smile

Coaching is fine – it will help develop the correct technique; but only practice (and practicing the correct technique) makes it perfect. Only a fool thinks they are so good that they no longer need to practice. Coaching at appropriate points makes all the difference.

I don't have the answer to club nights. At my main club we have 2 level 2 coaches and at least 2 or more level 1 assistant coaches. But at the main adult session there is (so far) no practice taking place…it makes no sense to me.

I am trying to help myself. I have just completed my level 1 certificate and will be going on to do level 2 next year. I play at two clubs and also two pay & play sessions per week. So I get a variety of players to play against – these range from beginners to league/county standard; I always strive to play well – it is simply a case of respect – I hope any beginners I play against would prefer to be well beaten by a better player rather than be beaten by someone just “mucking about”. I am also lucky enough to have access to a private courts (I work on a military base and the gym is empty at weekends…) where I can spend time practicing footwork etc with my wife (bless her cotton socks).

Despite all of this I know I have loads to learn and, despite my advancing years, know I can get better and enjoy my badminton even more! But I do not represent everyone and this is the problem – we have a wide spectrum of players, playing styles and motivations. I think it would be nigh on impossible to cater for everyone in the simple context of a club; maybe that is how it should be. After all, the players who are really going to excel are probably already on a specific performance pathway – those people at the majority of clubs are probably in the advanced-social player group rather than aspiring county/national players.

Right, better take my ProPlus50 tablets – it is club night tonight and I have to get ready!!

Keep the comments going. Cheers everyone!

July 13, 2013
6:40 pm
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Roger
West Midlands UK
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Thanks John and everyone who has participated. Some great insight into everybody's opinions on coaching. 

Just maybe as a closing thought, no one has really commented on the value of intense residential coaching. Personally I think that if your game is a bit in the doldrums and you looking for a kick start there's nothing better.

A few years ago I went to the Yonex Inverclyde 5 day coaching up in Scotland. The head coach was Dan Travis, a Commonwealth gold medallist. He was then performance coach to the Scottish squad and had some of the juniors to help him, including a young  Imogen Bankier. 

Dan is a superb coach and his staff were a credit to him. There was quite a mixed ability but at no time did anyone feel out of place or overwhelmed.  We all left with the feeling that we had learned a great deal and would strive to improve.

So, although short courses are not going to make you a world beater, what  they will do is give you a platform for improvement.  You'll gain a  new perspective on your game and loads of ideas to play around with.

THE NEXT STEPS ARE UP TO YOU. 

July 13, 2013
7:19 pm
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John
Southampton
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Roger,

I've not been on a residential badminton course – however, if I had the spare cash I would! But I guess it depends on the individual and their ability to keep going during the 2,3 or 5 days of the course. I am sure you could learn an awful lot with plenty of time to focus on specific areas.

But you still have to practice as an individual and as part of a team (if you are a doubles player) and still be able (and willing) to accept advice and comment from others (both players and coaches). It is difficult to do this within the typical club setup.

In the meantime I shall start saving my pennies for a residential course Smile

July 13, 2013
10:26 pm
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Paul Stewart
Cheshire, UK
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I purposely left out my residential courses as I didn't wish to be seen as hijacking this great post on a self serving basis.

 

What I will say is that I have been witness to so many transformations in a weekend because you are constantly thinking and putting into practice skills, techniques and tactics learnt in a fun friendly manner.

 

I am very aware of the great work the team of coaches and support staff do to make Largs such a success. It's tougher physically than my courses as i learnt from many players who have done the rounds and been on all of them.

 

So I am certainly an advocate of such courses. I have personally learnt so much from these courses and they have pushed me to adjust, discover, re-teach in new ways to get the best from players e.g. who would have thought that the highlight for many advanced players was doing a three hour masterclass on racket prepartion for overhead? However, Matt will testify exactly what happened.

 

For me, every residential course i run is a major challenge. How can I do this better or that better. What can I do to teach a completely different way? Matt will also testify to the give me 5 technique i introduced last time and the impact on his game. And, I'm still developing new practices to improve skill.

 

Again, not to sound self-serving, but the residential course is a win-win. I know my team of coaches learn a lot from the attendees and me.

 

So for the coaches reading this post, you need to get on these courses even if it's to help out and learn. You'd be amazed what goes on behind the scenes, the planning, the delivery, and hopefully you will leave a better coach even if you rarely hit a shuttle.

 

Paul

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